Bird Rookery

Bird Rookery

 

a nesting place for a large colony of marine birds, including guillemots, seagulls, Procellariiformes, cormorants, gannets, and penguins. Bird rookeries are generally located on cliffs that drop steeply to the sea. They dot the coasts of Europe, Asia, North America, South America, southern Africa, and New Zealand. Rookeries have also been established on oceanic islands of the southern hemisphere. Some rookeries extend for several kilometers and are visited by hundreds of thousands of birds.

Some of the largest bird rookeries in the USSR are on islands of the Barents Sea (Novaia Zemlia, Franz Josef Land). Typical birds encountered here are thick-billed murres, guillemots, fulmars, dovekies, kittiwakes, and glaucous gulls. Large rookeries are also located in the North Pacific (Komandorskie Islands, Kuril Islands, Tiulen’i Islands). They are inhabited by thickbilled murres, common murres, puffins (horned puffin), crested auklets, paroquet auklets, fulmars, cormorants, and kittiwakes.

Bird rookeries are confined to marine regions with high biological productivity, intensive vertical circulation of water, and an abundance of plankton and fish. The coasts must be suitable for nesting. Rookeries usually contain birds that differ in their selection of nesting areas, diet, and procurement of diet. Nesting in densely populated rookeries results in less destruction of eggs and nestlings by predators and in greater synchronism of reproductive periods. The birds play a vital role in the biological balance of the seas.

Some of the eggs, mainly those of murres, and the birds themselves have been commercially valuable in the north for a long time. In Peru and Chile, guano deposits are being exploited. Bird rookeries in the USSR are protected.

REFERENCES

Kaftanovskii, Iu. M. Chistikovye ptitsy Vostochnoi Atlantiki. Moscow, 1951.
Uspenskii, S. M. Ptich’i bazary Novoi Zemli. Moscow, 1956.
Belopol’skii, L. O. Ekologiia morskikh kolonial’nykh ptits Barentsova moria. Moscow-Leningrad, 1957.

S. M. USPENSKII

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